Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What Was the Neutrality Patrol?

From Wikipedia.

On July 18th, I wrote about the destroyer Jacob Jones being on the Neutrality Patrol before the U.S. entered World War II.  I had never heard of it, so you know what that means.

When the Germans invaded Poland, setting off the war, U.S. President Roosevelt immediately declared America's neutrality.  The Neutrality Patrol was organized on September 4, 1939, with the aim of tracking and reporting the movement of any warlike actions by belligerants in the waters of the western hemisphere., especially in connection with the U.S. eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico.

To provide ships for it, some 77 destroyers and light minelayers were recommissioned. in San Diego and Philadelphia.

Eventually, these Neutrality ships convoyed merchant ships across the Atlantic (which hardly seems neutral to me since these ships were going to Britain).  This led to the sinking of the destroyer USS Reuben James escorting Convoy HX-156 by the U-552 in October 1941.

In spite of its name, the Neutrality Patrol clearly favored the British.  The ships shadowed German ships in neutral waters and communicated their position to British ships.

What's So Neutral About That?  --GreGen

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